Cumulative Stress, and the Biological Clock

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
– Albert Einstein

Excessive stress, in all of its various manifestations, can negatively affect both physical performance and weight loss progress.  Many trainees operate under the assumption that mental or emotional stress won’t affect things such as reaching performance goals, or shedding of that last few pounds of stubborn fat.  Often times folks (I’ve especially seen this in young athletes), will continually “burn the candle at both ends”, then wonder why that once steady progress has suddenly bottomed-out.  The fact of the matter is that all stress is cumulative, and all stress – whether physical or not – will negatively affect the entire organism; mental, as well as physical performance (and that includes weight loss) will inevitably suffer.

Sleep, as everyone is well-aware, is a HUGE aspect of proper recovery (in general), and a much-needed stress reducer (in particular).  And it’s not just the overall lack of sleep that can act as a sand-trap to one’s progress, but simply disrupting one’s circadian rhythms (from poor quality sleep, shift work, etc.) can adversely affect metabolism, higher level cognitive functioning, and that all-important, overall physical performance.

For more on the subject, check-out this fantastic podcast from NeuroScene – an interview with with Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos, of Rockefeller University, who recently conducted a study on circadian rhythms and their relationship to mental, emotional, and physical parameters.  Listen in as Dr. Karatsoreos discusses the science of “body clocks”, and how important is to keep them “in sync.” .

Truly, if I could bottle the restorative powers of simple, restful sleep, I’d be a rich man.  The good news for all of us, though, is that this restorative powerhouse is absolutely free for the taking.

In health,
Keith

4 responses to “Cumulative Stress, and the Biological Clock

  1. Amen.

    Great to here something like this, especially on a site that is focused on strength training, athletic performance etc. most of the time. Puts things into perspective.

  2. True Story: client of mine keeps chiding me to get my MBA. He manages a 2bil/year health care company but works all…the…damn…time. I told him my plan was to get my MS in Nutrition, own but not work a studio, and teach at a CC so I can have summers off.

    His response: “Good idea.” I can’t imagine the last time he got a full night of sleep.

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